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Hello- I am in Canada. My wife is American (dual citizen) and has just been diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer's. Is there any person/ place I can call to see if she qualifies for early withdrawal of her Social Security? And If so, how do we proceed? I am her POA, but I am Canadian (we live in Canada) but just want to know where to begin. Thanks!


BTW my wife is 61

When does she turn 62? That, depending on how much she put in to Social Security during her work career, will determine what her monthly SS income will be. Many people opt for the early SS option - those not even ill.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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You cannot get SSI overseas. Google the question. ..easy answer. SSI before age 62 does not roll over to Social Security at age 62. There are times when someone goes from SSI to Social Security (too complicated for this discussion), but basically the type of disability you have after 65 is the type you had before. SSI is needs based and you have to have low income and assets (welfare by a nicer name) and it stays SSI and we don't send that type of payment out of the country. SS (either disability or retirement) can be sent overseas to most countries, except to places on our naughty list like North Korea. If a person has SSDI before their Full Retirement Age (FRA) it rolls over to SS retirement at FRA. No more reviews to see if you're still disabled every few years and other changes.
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Reply to vegaslady
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Approach the US Social Secuirity Administration directly. You can get their phone numbers online.
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Reply to LuvingSon
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Start with the social security website for information. You would need to complete an application. I was able to get disability benefits for my niece who is also 61. She has mental and physical disabilities. She did not qualify for SSI, but she was approved for disability income.
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Reply to Gwenny1944
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You say that your wife is Early-Onset Alzheimer's. If this is the case, is she still able to perform gainful employment? When I applied for SSD at 55 due to a back injury +, I had to be off work for a minimum of 6 months and unable to perform any type of employment. I had to be 100% disabled. SSA has a list of certain diagnosis that qualify for immediate coverage, like certain cancers. If your wife has the work credits to qualify her for SS, she would be able to start collecting at a reduced amount at 62. Which might be a better option than trying to qualify for SSD which could be expensive and time consuming. If you want to go the route of SSD then getting a lawyer to represent her here in the States would be the best way to go. These guys know the system and would be able to tell you at the first appointment whether or not it would be worth the effort to pursue. Usually the first appointment they don't charge you for.
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Reply to Nancynurse
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As some of the answers below reflect, she will be eligible for SS at 62.  prior to that it would be SSI, but that would take forever to get approved.  If you do decide to try to get SSI, I would go through a legal firm like Binder and Binder in the U.S. as they are the most accomplished and successful at this type of case, and only take a percentage of what you get  paid on the back payments.  Doing it on your own is absolutely not worth the time and the small amount that the legal firm will pay--which you would probably never see anyway if you do it on your own.  Best wishes in whatever you do.  It is not an easy thing to deal with.
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Reply to jennys
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I would contact the Social Security Administration and see if she may qualify for disability.
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Reply to choberman
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Many misunderstandings about the use of SSI and Social Security terms. They are not the same as they are paid from different sources of funding, although both are administered by the Social Security Administration. Social Security, whether it is for retirement or disability, is based on earnings that had SS taxes paid on those earnings. Not all employment is covered, usually for teachers, some other public employees and some nonprofits, like churches. SSI is needs based, and your income and assets have to be below certain amounts, which are pretty low. SSI means Supplemental Security Income and is NOT a term that is interchangeable with SOCIAL SECURITY. It is possible for Social Security benefits to be very low, in which case a person might also apply for SSI. The disability requirements are the same under each program. However if you are outside the US I believe it is correct that you cannot receive SSI. (Before it was SSI it was basically welfare for Aged, Blind, and Disabled people.) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be paid outside the US as can SS Retirement benefits. Just because a person is "disabled" however does not mean they will get disability....there are more complicated rules as to how many quarters you had to have worked, your age and how recently your work quarters were earned. So, being disabled doesn't necessarily get you benefits under either SSDI or SSI. The OP may only be able to get retirement benefits for her at age 62. Do your research on the Social Security website ssa.gov before spending money on a lawyer to tell you the same thing that is available to you online, in person at a SS office or by phone 1-800-772-1213 from the US.
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Reply to vegaslady
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worriedinCali May 16, 2019
She qualifies for SS disability benefits because of her Alzheimer’s/dementia diagnosis, it’s clearly stated on the SS website. However by the time she gets approved, she will probably be 62 so IF she is eligible for regular SS, she should just apply for that.
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Dear David,
I am in a position to pass on some advice I received from a family friend. I was diagnosed 3yrs ago at the age of 57 with early onset ALZ. Our friends referred us to a lawyer they used who specializes in Social Security Disability. I had all of my test completed, MRI, Neuro-psych exam and complete neurology workup. The legal team interviewed me and said, yes, they would take my case, please bring copies of MRI results, and neuropsych exam for us to include in your file. They reviewed the Med Records and then we went through the process of filing the application. I had my first SSI payment back dated to the date I was diagnosed, 52 days after the application was submitted. The law firm received 25% payment of my first SSI payment as their fee. We had 2 children under 18 at the time I was diagnosed and once I received my first check, we had to go to the SS Office in our town and apply for a minors benefit, which they we received payable to my DW as she had to be named the Representative Payee for the kids benefits, two weeks after that application was submitted. The attorney we used had worked for the SS Administration and knew how everything needed to be done. The cost of the attorney's fee was quite reasonable and there was very little stress involved. Having your ducks lined up in advance, and having the attorney involved saved me a lot of wasted time, playing games with the Feds. Social Security Disability does not count against you in terms of early withdrawl penalties, your DW with simply be converted to the regular SS payment once you reach the age for full Social Security benefits. The amount you receive will be the same as the monthly payment for the SSI payment, subject to Cost of Living increases. A good lawyer will get you over the hurdles, with a lot less stress, and you can go about doing things you can enjoy together, without worries about money. I have moved on to another stage of this disease recently, and I'm beginning to be able to do less for myself.
My final bit of advice would be to get in touch with an Elder Law Attorney and settle your Legal Affairs, perhaps a Living Trust, Medical Directives, Pourover Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and anything else they may recommend that will help smooth the course for you to continue on your DW journey with dementia, and your affairs too will be settled. Finally, you need to go over the paperwork with your children, so they can understand, why certain things were done. I hope this is helpful to you. God Bless you both.
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Reply to jfbctc
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caregiverx10 May 16, 2019
Is Long Term Care insurance necessary with this type of diagnosis, and can you even get it once you receive this type of diagnosis? My husband was diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s dementia at age 61, and I am concerned about long term care if he gets to the point of needing that level of care and if once diagnosed if he would even be a candidate. It is so expensive, I don’t even think we could afford it, but just wondering. He also had quadruple bypass surgery in 2017 and his dementia symptoms became more obvious after that.
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Hi David. My husband suffered a stroke at age 62. I applied for S.S. for him. Which he got. Within a few months he was diagnosed with Dementia. Then I applied for SSI. I was told 95% of first claims are rejected. The SS office was helpful. I was diligent to fill out all the paperwork, which was all time sensitive- such as send back within 10 days of the postmark. He got SSI on first try. Also, with the help of the S.S. administration, we compared his S.S. benefits with his SSI benefits- his SSI benefits were greater. So we went that that one. Good luck in your quest to get answers and assistance.
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Reply to Annekeating
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In the US, as others have said, she needs to be 62 to collect regular Social Security. She could apply for SS disability, but by the time approval is granted, she might have turned 62 anyway.

I don't know what Canadian laws are in that regard.
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Reply to dragonflower
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DavidFindlay60 May 16, 2019
The Canadian stuff is actually easy! We have the disabilty tax credit (which we applied for and will get starting next year)

But as my wife has said many times- knowing the governments of both countries- she says the US is much more complicated and byzantine. She is entitled to US benefits as she only left the US 11 yrs ago.

Here we have "SERVICE CANADA" offices everywhere where you can do everything from disability services, spousal benefits, Social Insurance, etc etc.

She no longer remembers how to do this kind of thing in the US and I suspect it's far more complicated, especially since we are living in Canada.

However, I will take the advice offered here and do what I can. Thank you!
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For US citizens, social security disability:
https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-social-security-disability-benefits-dementia.html, this might help!
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Reply to beebow2
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In the US disability is more than SS! There are some disease you get immediate approval, you just have to present medical substantiated documents! It took less than 3 months when we applied for my husband (COPD) and that was all providing every thing they required! Plus your benefits go back to the day you applied after you’re approved! Blessings to you!
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Reply to beebow2
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Disability takes about 5 months to do and payouts will be less than SS. She has an illness that you will not recover from. Recommend straight SS.
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Reply to MACinCT
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JoAnn29 May 14, 2019
Very rarely do you get disability the first time around. You usually have to get a lawyer involved. My nephew was born with his disabilities and it took over a year. As didvwith other family members and friends.
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Hi David. Others have answered your question. I just want to say how sorry I am that you and your wife are facing this at such a young age. All the best to you both.
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Reply to Sweetstuff
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DavidFindlay60 May 14, 2019
Thank you so much- and thanks to all who responded!
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Did your wife work in the US for 10 yrs (40 quarters)? If not, she will not be able to collect. Like said, she will need to be 62 to collect. It will be about 75% of the 100% she would get at 66.

She maybe able to get Social Security Disability but it may take a year or more and she will be 62 by then. You need to apply about two months before her birthday and it will start the month of her birthday.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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worriedinCali May 14, 2019
To be totally accurate, even if she did work 10 years in the US, it doesn’t mean she’s eligible for social security. Not everyone pays in to it, I’m not sure if people here are aware of that? For example, my husband has worked 30 years in the US and won’t get social security because he doesn’t pay in to it.
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She is eligabe to collect. You can go online to see how much she can collect at age 62.
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Reply to MACinCT
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You can apply for social security benefits online. You can’t really call social security & find out if a 3rd party is eligible for benefits because social security will not look up their information and discuss it with you. The social security website has all the information you need regarding eligibility.

heres a link https://www.ssa.gov/foreign/index.html
this page has contact info for people outside of the United States, links to apply for benefits online and a “benefits screening eligibility tool”. Your wife can draw social security at 62. That’s earliest social security retirement benefits can be drawn. And it will be discounted, she won’t get the full amount. What you really need to determine is if she can claim social security disability payments—she should be able to because early onset Alzheimer’s is on the list of “compassionate allowance” conditions. So she is probably eligible for social security disability even though she is not yet eligible for social security retirement.

what she will not be eligible for is SSI. If you leave the US for more than 30 days, you aren’t eligible for supplement security income.
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Reply to worriedinCali
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This is a link to what I hope will be lots of relevant information.

https://alzheimer.ca/en/Home/provincial-office-directory
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Do you mean take her SS retirement benefits, early, say at 62 rather than at her full retirement age? Or do you mean apply for SS disability, which you can apply for at any age? Either way you can apply online.
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